Halem BOA
February 14, 2022


Designation Will Support Revitalization of Nearly 210 Acres in the Heart of Harlem
BOA Program to Provide Tools to Revitalize Blighted Area and Spur Economic Development

New York State Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez today announced the designation of the Bradhurst area in Harlem as a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), which includes approximately 210 acres in the Central Harlem neighborhood of Upper Manhattan between 145th and 163rd Streets along the Harlem River. The plan leading to the designation provides a holistic framework that addresses both the development of individual strategic sites for community development, and neighborhood wide urban design initiatives including connectivity, programming of community nodes, public waterfront access and resiliency. This designation gives Harlem the tools to fast-track neighborhood revitalization efforts and foster redevelopment of key sites, transforming them from liabilities to catalysts for economic growth while addressing environmental justice. 

The project was sponsored and undertaken by Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Inc., a community-based organization and coalition of 90 inter-faith congregations that is dedicated to the holistic revitalization of Harlem. HCCI partnered with Harlem Community Development Corporation (HCDC), a subsidiary of the NYS Urban Development Corporation to conduct the planning effort.

“This Brownfield Opportunity Area designation will help lead to environmental justice and set the path forward for a more just, prosperous and healthy future for this Harlem community,” said Lieutenant Governor Brian A. Benjamin. “The BOA process itself has energized this community by putting power back into the hands of the people who know their community best—the residents themselves.  With this designation, this Harlem community advances a revitalization strategy to spur redevelopment and enhance environmentally sustainable neighborhoods.”

Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Harlem continues its transformation, and the Department of State is proud to support the work to remove the remains of disinvestment and blight and to promote environmental justice and economic development, the lack of which has historically plagued the “village” of Harlem. This Brownfield Opportunity Area designation in Harlem not only signifies our commitment to assisting communities to reach their goals for revitalization, but also provides real incentives to attract transformative private and public investment to these blighted areas so they can become the great places where people can work, live, and play.” 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Environmental Justice communities across New York City are being transformed with the help of the Department of State’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas program and DEC’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, both of which serve as powerful tools to revitalize neighborhoods. Central Harlem’s Bradhurst neighborhood is the latest community to benefit from BOA’s incentives and DEC will continue to work with our state and local partners to help bring new life to this community, increase access to the Harlem River, and grow this neighborhood’s economy.”

HCCI received two grants totaling $508,026 from the Department of State BOA Program to put forth a comprehensive revitalization strategy to promote effective redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality in Harlem. The key recommendations contained in this BOA nomination focus on projects and other actions that will become channels for redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization within the Brownfield area.

The recommendations include:

  • Improving physical connection and waterfront access;
  • Supporting small business growth and developing employment pathways;
  • Creating recreational opportunities;
  • Updating zoning regulations to implement a diverse mix of uses; and
  • Developing a plan for reinvigorating the area under the 155th Street viaduct by turning it into a community focal point.

Senator Cordell Cleare said, “True community-centered development is essential to the revitalization of our neighborhoods. The designation of the Bradhurst area as a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) will, in collaborative fashion, move Harlem’s transformation forward by facilitating worthwhile, beneficial investment and improvement in formerly vacant and abandoned sites that will now serve our people. Thank you to the Department of State and all our community partners who helped make this designation possible. I look forward to our continued partnership and progress on behalf of Harlem.”   

Assemblymember Al Taylor said, "Designating the Bradhurst area of Harlem as a Brownfield Opportunity Area is an incredible and much needed step forward for our community and for the people of New York. I am beyond thrilled that the Bradhurst area will not only be revitalized but it will also become an economic and environmental game changer that will benefit residents for many years to come. Thank you to all who helped make this initiative possible, especially Harlem's own HCCI for spearheading this project and for always giving back to the people of our community."

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, “This designation as a Brownfield Opportunity Area will unlock badly needed funding along the Harlem River between 145th and 163rd streets, and I applaud Governor Hochul, Acting Secretary of State Rodriguez, and HCCI for their leadership. Recovery from this pandemic must include supporting small business growth and job creation, as well as supporting communities that have been on the front lines of climate change and environmental injustice. I look forward to working with the State as well as the local community to ensure that our future provides more opportunity for all.”

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. President and CEO Dr. Malcolm A. Punter, Ed.D. MBA said, “HCCI worked collaboratively with the Bradhurst residents, elected officials, the municipal agencies, and the steering committee members to study the BOA area since 2005. The NYS DOS designation of the Bradhurst area is a momentous achievement that will be a key driver for community led real estate development as envisioned by the community residents.” 

Harlem Community Development Corporation President Curtis Archer said, “The Brownfield Opportunity Area designation will give nearly 210 acres in Harlem a revitalization opportunity for economic growth and development. Harlem Community Development Corporation looks forward to the transformation of a blighted area into one that will boost the local economy and improve the quality of life for Harlem residents and businesses.” 

New York State provides a tax credit incentive to encourage private-sector cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites in designated BOAs that conform with the community's vision for the revitalization of their neighborhood. This tax credit bonus is available to projects on properties enrolled in the Brownfield Cleanup Program, administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Secretary of State determines if projects are in conformance with the goals and priorities of the designated BOA.

The BOA designations help local communities implement strategies to revitalize and rebuild neighborhoods affected by dormant and blighted brownfield properties and environmental injustices. Municipalities and not-for-profits may also apply for BOA pre-development grants to advance projects within the designated BOAs.

Developers, property owners and others with projects and properties located within the designated BOAs will be eligible to access additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax incentives to develop projects aimed at transforming dormant and blighted areas in their communities and putting them back into productive use. In addition, projects within each designated BOA will be entitled to receive priority and preference for certain State grants.

In her 2022 State of the State Agenda and 2022-2023 Executive Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed to build upon the success of New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) by extending and expanding the program, which is set to expire in December 2022. The proposal, which includes the 10-year extension, would reauthorize the program and improve it by making property tax credits available in certain disadvantaged, low-income communities, and providing credits for the development of certain renewable energy facility sites to help focus BCP-driven redevelopment and meet the State's ambitious climate goals. Governor Hochul also plans to grow the State's Brownfield Opportunity Area program, which provides communities with guidance, expertise, and financial assistance to help develop revitalization strategies for areas affected by urban blight or economic distress. For more information about the BCP, visit DEC's website.

Further information, including designation details and nomination planning documents associated with the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, as well as information about the Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credit incentive for projects in designated BOAs, can be found on the Department of State website, here.